Today I received a “newsletter” from a local colleague of mine which was personally delivered to my front doorstep. Other than the fact that it looked like it was created by a 12 year-old using MS Publisher, one thing really caught my attention — A blurb entitled “Five Simple Ways to be a Good Neighbor” Here are the details – 1. Offer a smile and a friendly hello to your neighbor, 2 Have your neighbor over for a meal, 3. Hold a block party, 4 Get to know your neighbor a little better, 5 Celebrate Fall by taking them a fresh apple pie.
1. SLOW DOWN – I live in a small residential section of Bay Park. We are in a canyon and there is only one way in and out. There are tons of kids riding bikes, playing catch and doing kid stuff. You don’t really need to hit 45 mph while you are on your way home from work. – And while your at it, get off your cell phone! The other day I saw a neighbor (who I know has kids) driving down our street at 40 mph while she appeared to be texting. She was MAYBE 100 yards from her house.
2. CLEAN-UP — I don’t expect everyone to have a yard that looks like it should be featured on HGTV, but seriously, mow your lawn, get rid of the weeds that are five feet tall and make sure that your trees, bushes etc. aren’t blocking the sidewalk. – If I can’t walk down the sidewalk past your house without dodging a prickly thorn bush that is impeding 75% off the sidewalk then maybe you should do something about it.
3. PARK IT SOMEWHERE ELSE — Bay Park is a San Diego neighborhood that doesn’t have a Homeowners Association. This means that we abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the city of San Diego. The City of San Diego allows you to park your RV on the street for no greater than 72 hours at a time before you move it (Don’t get me started on this law – I’ll be happy to rant and rave about this in greater detail in a separate post). I don’t want to live in an RV park.
If you own an RV then park it in your driveway or take it to an RV park/storage. There’s a guy who’s 45 foot RV is permanently anchored to the curb in our area. How am I supposed to see around this monstrosity when I’m turning the corner. He’s got a power cord running from the house across the sidewalk and I could swear he’s renting it out as a condo on wheels!! – Every time I walk, ride or drive by this thing all I can think is “how much does this RV parking lot impact my property value? – PLEASE -Park it somewhere else!
4. SHARE THE WEALTH – OK this one is pretty specific, but rotting fruit leads to rotten neighbors. We live in Southern California and almost everyone has some sort of fruit tree in their yard. We have lemons, limes, oranges, and avocados. When the trees start to fruit we try to use as much as possible, give it away to our neighbors and friends, and make sure that anything that is unusable gets disposed of right away.
I don’t need to step on rotten fruit while walking the dog, riding bikes with my son, or throwing the ball around with the neighbor kids. I don’t need gophers, rats, raccoons, and other scavenger animals cruising through the hood looking for their latest snacks.
Too much fruit to deal with, put it in a bucket out by the curb with a sign that says FREE! — It will be gone in 24 hours and you will have probably made a new neighborhood friend in the process.
5. USE IT AS INTENDED – – My neighborhood was built in the 1960’s. The lots have driveways, front and back yards, and houses with garages. If you want to be a good neighbor, I suggest you try using these old timey things as they were intended.
A driveway should be used to park your car, not your three boats, your razor wire collection, and your crab traps! If you need to work on your car in the garage/driveway, that’s all good, just don’t leave it there for a year and let your oil drip down into the street!
Working in the garden, great, but don’t leave a pile of trimmings on your front lawn for a month or two! And while your at it, could you take down the profane sign that proclaims your driveway as the exclusive parking domain of your unhappy wife.
If you want to use some of those left over apples to bake me a pie that’s OK by me! I’ll give you some guacamole and we’ll be friendly neighbors for a long time.